Saturday, April 11, 2009

Snob's Music

Snob's Music

A Camp: "Colonia" album review

Posted: 11 Apr 2009 06:54 AM PDT

The O'Darling: "A Nice EP" review

Posted: 11 Apr 2009 06:43 AM PDT

Whatever happened to: Green Apple Quick Step?

Posted: 10 Apr 2009 10:13 PM PDT

Music Is My King Size Bed

Music Is My King Size Bed

Freemasons and Sophie Ellis-Bextor Shooting a New Video

Posted: 11 Apr 2009 07:52 AM PDT

Sophie Ellis-Bextor According to Sophie Ellis-Bextor via her Twitter, "I have styling meeting next week for 'Heartbreak' video. What to wear?"

I'm thrilled that she's shooting a video for "Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer)." Sophie is one of my favorite UK pop stars. She has teamed up with remixers/producers Freemasons on this track, which originally appeared on her official MySpace page along with a Calvin Harris-produced Off & On, (both since removed). It was rumored to be released as a single off of Sophie's planned Greatest Hits album. Plans for a Greatest Hits album were apparently put on hold but I'm hearing that she is instead working on new material for a brand new album, due out this summer. Fingers crossed!

Sophie Ellis-Bextor and FreemasonsThis song is a lot of fun. Electro-pop at it's best with Sophie's fantastic posh accent coming through. I love how you can really hear her accent when she sings. With a lot of artists you can't tell where they are from when they're singing.

Now I don't really consider Wikipedia a reliable resource, but according to the website "Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer)" is being released to radio in the UK May 4th, digitally June 15 and on CD Single on June 22. It will also be released in the rest of Europe around this time, with a full CD Maxi with remixes (hopefully). Also according to Wikipedia, it has a release date in Australia of July 11th and a digital release in the US sometime in 2009. Hmmmm...too good to be true?

Your Song Lyrics

Your Song Lyrics

So Human - Lady Sovereign

Posted: 11 Apr 2009 09:00 AM PDT

Album: Jigsaw Genre: Electropop Writers: Benjamin Levin, Lukasz Gottwald, Robert Smith Released: April, 2009 Support This Artist. Download Her Music Now!!!   After three years, the English rapper Lady Sovereign has released her second studio album titled Jigsaw in the United States. Starting from this Monday, it will be available in United Kingdom stores too. So Human was released this week [...]

Stuck With Each Other - Shontelle Feat. Akon

Posted: 10 Apr 2009 07:15 PM PDT

Album: Shontellingence and Confessions of a Shopaholic Genre: R&B, Soundtrack Writer: Diane Warren Released: February, 2009 Support This Artist. Download Her Music Now!!! Last month, Shontelle made the re-release of her debut album titled Shontelligence and Stuck With Each Other is her thrid single. The one is featuring Akon, and it is included not only in her debut material but [...]

Kingdom of Rust - Doves

Posted: 10 Apr 2009 06:37 PM PDT

Album: Kingdom of Rust Genre: Indie Rock Writers: Jimi Goodwin, Andy Williams, Jez Williams Released: March, 2009 Support The Band. Download Their Music Now!!!   Last 30th March, 2009 the English Indie Rock band, Doves released the lead single of their new album, Kingdom of Rust which is available since this Monday in UK and Germany, while in United States [...]




Posted: 10 Apr 2009 09:56 PM PDT

Here's a new track from Ne-Yo titled "Trust Me Or You Don't". Check it out after the jump... (back)
Listen Ne-Yo "Trust Me Or You Don't"
:: Link 1 ::
Link 2 ::

Download Ne-Yo "Trust Me Or You Don't"
:: Mirror 1 ::
:: Mirror 2 ::

: : Ne-Yo "Trust Me Or You Don't" Lyrics : :


Posted: 10 Apr 2009 09:43 PM PDT

Here's a new track from Benzino titled "Turn It Up". Check it out after the jump... (back)

Listen Benzino "Turn It Up"
:: Link 1 ::
Link 2 ::

Download Benzino "Turn It Up"
:: Mirror 1 ::
:: Mirror 2 ::

: : Benzino "Turn It Up" Lyrics : :


Posted: 10 Apr 2009 08:18 PM PDT

Here's a new song from Chris Brown called Round Here off his upcoming 2009 album. Check it out after the jump... (back)
Listen Chris Brown "Round Here"
:: Link 1 ::
:: Link 2

Download Chris Brown "Round Here"
:: Mirror 1 ::
:: Mirror 2 ::

: : Chris Brown "Round Here" Lyrics : :


Posted: 10 Apr 2009 08:07 PM PDT

Here's a brand new song from Mya called "Tic Toc". Check it out after the jump... (back)


Posted: 10 Apr 2009 07:34 PM PDT

Here's a new track from Chrisette Michele titled "Notebook" from her upcoming album "Epiphany" that will be released on May 19, through Island Def Jam. which was produced by Ne-Yo. Check it out after the jump... (back)
Listen Chrisette Michele "Notebook"
:: Link 1 ::
:: Link 2

Download Chrisette Michele "Notebook"
:: Mirror 1 ::
:: Mirror 2 ::

: : Chrisette Michele "Notebook" Lyrics : :


Posted: 07 Apr 2009 02:13 AM PDT

Here's a new song from "Brooke Valentine", titled "Pimped Out" and it features Chamillionaire. Check it out after the jump... (back)

Listen Brooke Valentine ft. Chamillionaire "Pimped Out"
:: Link 1 ::
:: Link 2

Download Brooke Valentine ft. Chamillionaire "Pimped Out"
:: Mirror 1 ::
:: Mirror 2 ::

: : Brooke Valentine ft. Chamillionaire "Pimped Out" Lyrics : :

Cyclic Defrost Magazine

Cyclic Defrost Magazine

Link to Cyclic Defrost Magazine

Sickboy – Time To Play (Ad Noiseam)

Posted: 11 Apr 2009 05:13 PM PDT


As the ‘Alf’-mangling sleeve art accompanying this fifth album ‘Time To Play’ attests, Belgian hardcore producer Jurgen Desmet (aka Sickboy) isn’t exactly a guy who occupies one of the more morose and po-faced corners of the breakcore landscape. Having previously released albums on Peace Off, Mirex and Very Friendly, this first album since 2007’s ‘Music Therapy’ sees Desmet continuing to strip away the all-out noise that characterised his earlier work, in favour of sample-based mash-ups that pay homage to classic hardcore rave, and indeed proves to be his most immediately accessible collection to date. Indeed, this album is most happy when it’s blasting out toxic distorted Altern8 synth riffs and pulsating double-kickdrums against hyper-accelerated hiphop / rnb samples (see ‘Don’t Stop Now’), or using cheesy afternoon kids TV show samples as the backdrop for pounding gabbercore rhythms and scissoring breakbeat shuffles – cheerleader vocals included on ‘Darkwing Droog.’

Elsewhere, ‘Take Me On’ self-destructs the A-Ha track of almost the same title, taking it out on a hammering murder-ride that also sees The Cranberries’ ‘Zombie’ and what sounds like a traditional Russian massed military choir being blasted into drill-like kickdrum mayhem. In short, ‘Time To Play’ is an album that proves to be considerably more accessible to non breakcore heads than much of Desmet’s previous output, and also one that’s likely to provide a crossover point for many listeners outside the scene, or just starting to get interested in hardcore styles. It’s also a collection that I personally found to be the most consistent out of the preceding Sickboy albums, and like longstanding collaborator Bong-Ra proves that hardcore is sometimes best delivered with tongue packed firmly in cheek.

Cover designers - We Buy Your Kids interview by Alexandra Savvides

Posted: 11 Apr 2009 03:16 AM PDT

Cover designers: We Buy Your Kids
By Alexandra Savvides

Looking at the art work created by Sonny Day and Biddy Maroney under the nom de plume We Buy Your Kids is like entering a fantasy world. Theirs is a space filled with whimsy, where each piece is not only visually stunning but also jumps off the poster, page or screen at you. At the same time, their world seems to radiate fun - fragile but flawed creatures grace their illustrations like moths to a flame, unable to resist the ornate home that Day and Maroney create for them.

Their work will be instantly familiar to anyone who has even a passing interest in tour poster and record promotion design. Creating identities for a number of musicians - including Les Savy Fav, Xiu Xiu, Clue to Kalo and Youth Group - and exhibiting in London and Barcelona with a fake movie poster for horror film Suspiria, the pair are no strangers to the other sides of the creative spectrum. Working together from a hub on King Street in Sydney’s Newtown, Day and Maroney started their partnership designing for the Popfrenzy label. Since then, their work has ventured beyond screen-printed posters to animation, album artwork and a plethora of other mediums.

Back to the beginning, then. They met seven years ago, after realising their work had been shown opposite each other at a group show at Firstdraft gallery, in Sydney. Maroney recalls one of their initial meetings. “I was so happy when he first came to my house and saw my drawings all over the walls. He seemed genuinely impressed. Maybe he’s just a good actor, but he said they were really ‘creepy’ and it was like the best compliment I ever received.”

As it turned out, they had both come from a creative background. Maroney was working in design and illustration, with the occasional group exhibition, whereas Day was working at Firstdraft as a director, drawing and exhibiting in that space. Collaboration was a mutual dream, even if it seemed a little far-fetched at the time.

It took a fortuitous intervention from Popfrenzy’s Chris Wu to finally make their collaboration bear fruit. Initially, Wu chatted to Day specifically about some art posters for the burgeoning label. “[Sonny wanted] something different and individual that wasn’t a press photo plus logo, or just the album cover. And that was something Chris had wanted to do as well. He was organising this massive tour that with Les Savy Fav, The Hold Steady, Pretty Girls Make Graves, The Gossip and others touring around Australia, so he asked us to do posters for that. That was like a dream come true, especially for Sonny since he is crazy for Les Savy Fav.”

“We had a screen-printing carousel at home at the time because Sonny had been asked to print up some shirts for a friend. We had a bit of a test run on a poster for a Damo Suzuki show that was disastrous. There was a heatwave, the ink was drying in the screen and then there was a blackout and we were trying to lug this heavy machinery down alleyways to friends’ houses to finish it. It was a terrible first go.”

“The design for that doesn’t really look like our stuff either - it looks a bit like any designer’s work. But it was all good after that. We made more in our own style and Sonny got the printing thing working pretty good. And seeing our posters at the merch stand at the Les Savy Fav show gave us thrills. We also got to do more posters for Damo Suzuki shows, and I’m much happier with them than that original one.”

When asked about the role that music plays in their work, the pair are unanimous, both loving the opportunity to work on predominantly music-based projects. “All our personal work, the stuff we show in exhibitions, is based on music, or movies. Those pieces are always named after songs too. That thrill we spoke of, of being at the Les Savy Fav show and looking over and seeing people walk away with our poster is just totally exciting. Being fans and then having this small involvement through the images you make - it’s awesome.”

Friendships also form the basis of a lot of their music-related commissions. “Biddy has a long history with artwork for Youth Group, and we just did another cover for the release of their last album in the US,” Day says. “We’ve done a lot of posters for them too. That stuff is always our favourite because they are dream clients, maybe because they are friends too - they will come and discuss what they are thinking or what we are thinking and it’s always fun to do.”

“The style of the work we’ve done for them over the years has really evolved too. The band’s evolved, and when you look at the covers Biddy has done, it’s a good chart of how her work has changed over the years, culminating in being We Buy Your Kids stuff. Even if we never get to draw them another thing, we’ve had a dream run making them a stack of different images over the last few years.”

It’s typical WBYK style to see fantastical creatures pop up; a giant black cat, an owl with a naval hat perched on its head, an almost gothic male Medusa dancing with a maiden. There’s ornamentation too, like their delicate patterns interspersed between more aggressive and bold elements. Maroney puts this down to escapism. “We’re not the kinds of illustrators who examine the everyday or comment on society - we are just about escapism, and the escapism that comes through cult horror stylings in particular. It’s entertaining and a way to deal with your anxieties - to make them kitsch and attractive. All the witches and stuff we draw are brightly coloured and really decorative, when in reality it’s skulls and death and things that aren’t pretty. But if you can make an imaginary world that looks appealing - it’s like make-believe playing when you’re a kid.”

This month’s cover is painted with the typically quirky WBYK brush. Decorative and almost tribal in its colouring and style, it’s a defiant visual statement. “It’s combining a few elements we use repeatedly, the way the facial features are drawn, but we wanted to make something that was compositionally very simple, but had a lot of detail and texture in there. I think it looks tribal too - which is good because it initially looked a bit metally, but we really like all the decoration that goes with voodoo and old witchcraft so we used a bit of that,” Maroney says.

“The face is supposed to look very still, in the middle of something that is very loud and busy, a bit of a commotion. I think it looks like an orc, in that Lord of the Rings movie, where it pops its head up from all the killing. Maybe the face on the back is the same orc, later in the day, reflecting on why he’s gotta be so bad, and feeling all emotional. Hah. If we had to name it, I’d call it Everything’s Alright When You’re Down, which is fitting because orcs are well-known to be Jesus and Mary Chain fans.”

See more of We Buy Your Kids’ work at

Fennesz interview by Lawrence English

Posted: 11 Apr 2009 03:17 AM PDT

Fennesz interview by Lawrence English

It appears as though music is clouded in a frenzied storm of overactivity right now.

Ease of access to creation and distribution has brought about a plethora of action at varying levels of competency and curiosity. The result of this gust of creativity is a decreased ability by critics, historians and other interested parties to reconcile contemporary music in any kind of meaningful way. Questions abound as to what albums will maintain interest and fascination 10 or more years from now. Which musicians will hold a place in the history of their given field? What is significant, what is merely a mirage?

In 20 years or at some future point, when the storm clouds surrounding music have settled (or shifted to another turbulent phase), hindsight will create hierarchies of relevance and influence, and amongst the musicians whose work is sure to have thrived and assumed greater relevance is Christian Fennesz. The Vienna-based musician unwittingly placed himself at the very heart of the laptop-based electronic music world in 2001 with the release of possibly the most significant record of its time, Endless Summer.

Endless Summer not only summarised the sketches of live processed laptop music that had dotted performance spaces and label release schedules since the mid-nineties, it also transformed what had for the most part been disparate noisy explorations into something unexpected. Not only did this new laptop-based music feature precise arrangement and melodic colour, but it also had a sense of play that transformed the material from 'difficult' into something wholly welcoming, even hummable.

Now, the better part of a decade later, Fennesz offers his latest vision of electronic drenched composition – Black Sea. It's a markedly different affair from previous undertakings – where Endless Summer and Venice were punctuated with short bursts of song, Black Sea takes a decidedly long form and is perhaps the first record that fits together as an extended composition.

"It's been good that there's so much interest in the record," Fennesz comments from his studio space, "To be honest I was a little bit worried this time because it's a little bit different, but people seem to be excited about it. I've never really been one to compose longer pieces – the tracks are generally shorter on my records and I think with this one, there's this sense that maybe the whole record could be heard as one long track. It could be heard as one as one big composition, sure you can hear pieces that function as single tracks, but for me it's like this one large composition."

So how then did this long form work come about?

"This process unfolded very naturally whilst I was making the record," he explains, "I've been working on a great many ideas – a lot of them I'd work on for a while and then they'd just exhaust themselves and I'd throw them all away and start over. I did try to go in a song-oriented direction for this record initially, but honestly it was just not satisfying at all. I don't know, maybe it wasn't the right time for it, but I moved away from those ideas and what you hear on Black Sea is what I came to after that searching. I just let things go, I let some of the sounds extend which was great and also I allowed for silences to be in there."

When listening to Black Sea, the sense of exploration is ever-present. Though not radical in any way, the record plots out a considered path through territories that are unquestionably Fennesz, both in terms of aesthetics and harmony, but do suggest a more lateral approach to composition and arrangement.

"I have to try new ideas," he explains, of the process behind the record. "There has to be some challenge to the work, I mean I could do another Venice or Endless Summer all the time, but really why would I want to do that. It might not be as good as the originals, but it'd be easy to copy those ideas and make a record. But there's nothing in that for me. Each time I try something for a record, I want it to be new, I want it to point in some direction that I hadn't explored before. Of course, I have my limitations, the records always sound like me, but I am looking for that new terrain.

"Actually some people have said that this record sounds very mature - maybe that's just a nice way of saying ‘the guy’s getting old.’ But I do think there's a certain harmonic, tonal world that I always use and that I'm in. There's some chord progressions on this album that are the essence of many other things I've done before."

One of key elements that marks Black Sea as separate from previous Fennesz efforts is its juxtaposition of live instruments and processed/created instruments. Whereas these two elements have co-existed on other records previously, on Black Sea the relationship is re-considered. Acoustic instruments and physical spaces are offset against physically modelled environments and generated instruments. The results are both compelling and confounding, as the listener is drawn into uncertain states of listening – trying to hear the 'real' and the 'artificial'.

"For this one I was really interested in making recordings of acoustic instruments in these beautiful rooms. At the same time I was - I think for the first time - using physical modelling synthesis and that really fascinated me. So that was something I wanted to bring out in this new album. I was trying to build artificial instruments, I guess you could say, and trying to set them up with the other acoustic instruments so you get a sense of the two working for and against each other.

"In 'Grey Scale' for example there's one of these instruments I built using this synthesis technique and then the acoustic instrument as well. So combining that with the real room reverbs and the simulated rooms I was building with the modelling meant that there were so many possibilities, I didn't tire of it at all. You never know what is real and what is artificial. So the effect is there's more space in these recordings.

"This interest for me came from a few different experiences I had recently – one of them was in preparing a piece for the Vienna Concert Hall with a string quartet. It suddenly struck me that these instruments sound just so incredible in these old classical performance spaces that I wanted to investigate this relationship within my own music and I found out so much about what I do – simple things like microphone placement kept me reading and studying all the way through the record."

Another source for this inspiration springs forth from recent collaborations with the likes of Ryuichi Sakamoto.

"The work with Ryuichi has been influencing me this regard also - especially the Cendre sessions. When we recorded the piano for those sessions - Fernando Aponte, who has been Ryuichi's sound engineer for many years, had amazing ideas about ways to mic the piano and other instruments."

Collaboration serves more than just a technical interest for Fennesz though. Like many electronic musicians, there's a social aspect that is central to the ways in which collaborations unfold.

"It's tough, I live in this studio sometimes – I'm in here day after day, week after week, and it's as though I have no social life anymore. So for me the process of collaboration is really a pleasure – it's a chance to meet and work with people. I think as well as that I am a player, I love to play music and to do that there's something about playing with other people that's really enjoyable. I have to keep this player alive, it's important for me to communicate by improvising with other people, that just gives me such energy. I think working with people in a completely different field is a great process, it pushes you into areas you otherwise might not explore. You can learn so much and I think it's always difficult to explain to journalists about this thing of playing with someone like Ryuichi or Keith Rowe, but for us, the musicians, it's totally natural – it makes sense and we enjoy doing it, even if we play completely different music, we feel connected and we want to work together and learn from each other."

As enjoyable as collaboration may be, it is perhaps ultimately a blessing and a curse. After all it does bear a toll on the creation of new solo work. An example of this can be seen in the lead up to Black Sea. Some four years after the release of the previous solo from Fennesz, Venice, this latest LP’s completion stuttered due to a severe lack of consolidated time in the studio.

"I've been working on so many smaller projects in the past few years – film works, collaborations and other things – that really there wasn't that much time to work on the album. There was simply not enough time to sit in the studio for three or four months and work on something new. That was part of the reason things took a while this time. Also I have to admit another factor was that I really like doing smaller projects and executing smaller ideas. For example, I really like the single format – the A/B format is something I really like to work with.

"Partly as well I didn't have this feeling like I wanted to make a record. I mean there's so much stuff out there – really so much, that I didn't feel I had something to contribute to that mass of music. So I have to be confident enough to release an album and this time it took 4 years."

But even with the lost time, Fennesz is quick to point out that it would be unlikely for him to be creating more than he presently is. Partly due to this sense of 'glut' in the music being released.

"It's crazy," he sighs, "I just can't follow new music, I have completely lost track. I need someone to filter things for me and present just a selection of things for me. I don't have the time to go through all this stuff, there's so much electronic music. I keep on listening to my friend's music, because that's all that I can follow. So I think that now sometimes is on my mind when I am writing. There's always got to be value in the music, something there that can hold people when they come across it."

Fennesz’ Black Sea is available through Touch.

Death In June - All Pigs Must Die (Leprosy Discs)

Posted: 11 Apr 2009 01:46 AM PDT


All Pigs Must Die was originally released in 2001, and after some years out of print, it’s now been re-released. It’s undoubtedly the strangest work in Death In June’s oeuvre, and its reissue is likely to polarise fans all over again. The subject matter largely concerns a dispute between DIJ mainman Douglas P and some former business partners in the now defunct World Serpent Distribution company. The album is reissued simultaneously on CD and picture disc LP, and it makes sense to consider this as an LP, because this is very much a record of two distinct halves (conceptually similar to Neu! 2 or Low). On side one we have six songs - bright and breezy with acoustic guitar, accordion, trumpet etc; and then on side two we have radical remixes/deconstructions of the material on side one.

‘All Pigs Must Die’ sets the tone with an upbeat sound - but the light nature of the music is undercut by the venomous lyrics, directed against the Pigs of the title. Characterising people as “pigs” immediately refers us back to the Beatles’ song ‘Piggies’ (on The White Album). And that in turn refers us back to Charles Manson, and the infamous Tate/LaBianca murders in 1969, when “Death to Pigs” was just one of the slogans daubed in blood at one of the murder scenes.

‘Tick Tock’ begins with a short spoken word preamble from Boyd Rice, before we launch into a waltz-time acoustic song, which tells us there are “three piggies standing in the dock”. (After major dissatisfaction with the way World Serpent was run, Douglas P filed a claim against the company in 2000.) ‘We Said Destroy II’ opens with guitar feedback, another short speech from Boyd Rice, and then a short burst of distorted speech - a harbinger of the aural violence to come on side two. In ‘Flies Have Their House’ the singer declares a “pox upon Blackheath” (the area of London where WSD was based) before demanding “Piggie Piggie pay me.”

Over on side two ‘With Bad Blood’ is a gruesome remix of ‘Tick Tock’ with Pearce’s voice pitch-shifted into a demonic range, and the music hurled into a deep well of reverb and distortion. ‘No Pig Day’ recycles some text from ‘Flies Have Their House’ - only this time the words are sung to the slowed-down verse melody of the Beatles’ ‘Blue Jay Way’ (from Magical Mystery Tour), with the vocals again pitch-shifted and the music morphing into beatless industrial noise. Why ‘Blue Jay Way’? You’ll recall the opening lines of that song: “There’s a fog upon LA/And our friends have lost their way”. Although that song was written in 1967, it’s hard not to read it as prophetic of the dark side of the 60s that would culminate with Manson and Altamont. And again, referencing this second Beatles song, Douglas P seems to be calling down that darkness and violence upon his enemies.

‘Lord of the Sties’ reworks ‘Disappear in Every Way’, with the heavily processed voice intoning: “From the olympic city we will cast our runic charms” - the vocalist casting magickal spells upon his adversaries. Indeed it’s tempting to view this entire album as a kind of multimedia hypersigil, in the manner of Grant Morrison’s Invisibles. Does this kind of stuff work? Well, Pearce filed his court claim in 2000. Death In June released this album in 2001. The claim was settled out of court in 2002, and saw Pearce regaining control of his master tapes and receiving previously unpaid royalties. What do you think?

Ewan Burke